Publishing and Marketing A Poetry Chapbook: Experiments, Successes, and Failures (Episode 5: Giveaways, KDP Select, and a return to Social Media)

2 Days Until Roll-Out

Copy of C. Alexander (1)

We are getting close folks. If you were to check right now, you would see that both the paperback and kindle are live in Amazon right now.  So why am I claiming the roll-out is still two days away?

On Monday, Feb. 3, my book will be free on Amazon for 3 days.

That is also the day I will make a push through my social media channels.  So for all intents and purposes, Monday is the release date. I will use the KDP Select program through Amazon to make the book free for the first 3 days, and then raise the price of my book to .99 cents for Thursday and Friday, and then put it free again Saturday and Sunday. Between the two cycles, I’m hoping to chart my book on the first page of “top free” in Poetry on Amazon for about a week at least. Obviously, I will keep you posted by updating this page throughout the whole process.

How is pre-marketing going?

Pretty well. I tried a new method in the past couple of days: Giveaways. You can check out my active giveaway here if you want. In 24 hours I DOUBLED MY EMAIL LIST.

Granted, double for me is from 20 to 40, but I’m guessing some of you have a similar sized list and would love to double it in 24 hours.

So what did I do?

I’m going to warn you, I spent some money. I ran my giveaway through a site called Gleam. To get all the features I wanted (email list integration with Mailchimp, social media follows and shares) I had to pay $49/month. Of course, I will only do this 2-3 times a year, so it will work out better than the $600/year that implies.

I also spent money on some books. I bought Rupi Kaur’s Box-Set, Atticus’ newest book, The Truth About Magic, and put it together with my two books.  This was about $40, but remember I get a little of that back from my own books.

I lastly spent $30 on Facebook Ads for the giveaway and targeted it as narrowly as I could. For a total of $120. If that is out of your budget, skip the $30 on Facebook, I’m not even sure that part is going to work yet. A lot of my traffic has come from posting the giveaway on free places, like Reddit (r/contest, r/giveaways, r/sweepstakes). Make sure you read the rules of these places before you post. You can also repost to Reddit every 48 hours for the length of the contest.

My give away is going to run for 10 days. I’ve already gotten 20 new signups in less than 24 hours. If that pace continues, I will have 200 new signups for $120. My aiming point was less than $1 per signup, and that would make it.

What is the strategy?

Alright, this strategy is ticking several boxes at once, so let’s break it down.

  1. I have associated my poetry books with the two best-selling modern poets on the market, Rupi Kaur and Atticus.
  2. I have singled them out in the giveaway title so I know the people signing up for the giveaway have an interest in modern poetry.
  3. I am giving away a free PDF of my first poetry collection to everyone who enters, so everyone comes away with some “prize” even though there will only be one winner
  4. My only required entry is to join my mailing list, but I’ve set up several “bonus entries”
  5. The bonus entries include checking out my Instagram page, and sharing the contest on their twitter, which of course brings more eyeballs to the contest.

A return to social media

I have taken all of January off of social media. I did this for two reasons:

  1. I needed a break, social media was becoming a problem for my productivity.
  2. I wanted to divorce the idea that the only way I could market was through social media.

I’ll write a post soon about some of the other outlets I found while I was off of social media, the biggest was definitely Medium. 

But today, Feb. 1st, I returned to social media. I used that return to help grow my list by posting the contest on my facebook page.  And posting a several-part Instagram story that enticed the reader to check out the contest.

Even if they did not sign up for the contest, I teased the idea of a new book (the chapbook I mentioned at the top of the article), so on Monday, hopefully, I can drive some traffic to free downloads.

This may be the last post before I go live on Monday.

But you should stick around. I’m going to continue to update after the book goes live. You should also check out the book on Monday-Wednesday (so you can get it for free). I am hoping that through me failing (mostly) and succeeding (a little), you and I can learn lessons that we can both apply to our next book roll-out. Because people deserve to see what we’ve been working so hard on. Art is it’s most arty when people can acknowledge it.

Keep creating cool shit. Talk soon,

C. Alexander


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